Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Vichy, Clermont, and MontP

It's been a few days! Usually, I write in the morning when everyone is sleeping, however, the last few days have been early starts so, here's some catch up. Also, it takes about three hours to upload pictures where I am, so it's really slow going. Anyway.....

I left Claire's in Lyon on Thursday afternoon for Vichy! Have you ever heard of Vichy mints, cream, or water? Well, that's where it all comes from.

Here is some of Claire's apartment. This is the room that I stayed in. I have to tell you, this trip is great, everywhere I go, I have my own room to stay in! This is actually Pierre's room, Claire's roommate, but he is never there, so at night, I would move my stuff in, and in the morning I would move my stuff out in fear that he would return!
 One day we came home and mysteriously, a pair of his shoes has moved and there was binder on the bed that wasn't there before. Weird.... but I actually never saw the guy.

Here is Claire's room. She is moving out so there is not much stuff left!

My train left around 4:30, two hours before I thought that it was leaving! Glad that I checked. And then I was on my way to Vichy!

Vichy is cute. It's a small city, but really pretty. Brandon lives just oustide of it, like a 10 minute walk in a small town called Cusset. The whole region is called Auvergne, and is really pretty and really rural. Cows out number people here. But this is the heartland where France became France, and acutally, Vichy was the captial of France for two years during World War II.

There is a really nice river that runs along Vichy. Okay, so before I go on, put this in your mind.... it is really, and I mean really cold. I am not sure what wind has descended on France this week, but everywhere is freezing. It is easily in the fourties, all the time. Ahhh!!

Came back to Brandon's place for dinner! His apartment is nice, pretty big, and of course, I get my own room, which is actually bigger that my bedroom in Hawaii. Go figure.

 Okay, enough pictures of mediocre looking food. But there you go for all who are interested in what I am doing at every moment.

The next day, we decided to ride the train to the capital of the region, Clermont-Ferrrand. Clermont is a way larger city with about 140,000 people. It is also where Michelin is headquartered and where they make all the tires. Madame Bartley told me that.
 Here is the train station from a bridge in the morning. It was quite brisk, but the sky was pretty.

An shot of Brandon. 

 The front of the gare. I thought this fountain was cool.

Here is Brandon buying our train tickets. I can't pay for anything from a machine because I don't have a french credit card. The cards here have microchips and obviously, my credit cards and your credit cards don't have chips... so Brandon pays. And I pay him back. I am like his own personal ATM machine.

Made it to Clermont. It's really cold, not that you can tell from what Brandon is wearing. We got, not lost, but we didn't exactly know where we were.
 Imagine Clermont as Detroit. Very industrial.

So Brandon knows about this park that is on a hill. We can see the hill, so we head towards it.

After a while, we found the hill! It was so steep getting up!!!

But we made it!

 A nice view of the entire city follow by a weird statue which Brandon attempted to climb.

Nope. But then it was cool, if you took a picture the other direction, you could see the city's cathedral in the background.

Found some pretty tulips and then...

What is it? It's art!
 Wow, it was ugly... so French!

After almost dying on a merry go round, we made our way down the hill. Speaking of ugly things, he was a really ugly staircase.

Back in the city, we made our way to the cathedral.

 Inside was really cool. This cathedral was built from the 13th to the 15th century.

An a fountain outside the church. So after the cathedral, we headed to the Office de Tourisme This region is the only volcanic region in France, and, let's take a leap here, there is a volcano nearby! It's called Puy de Dome and you can go to the top! We wanted to go, so we asked, but sadly, they don't have any public way of getting up there until the end of May. Would have been cool, guess we'll just have to wait for the end of May.

Isn't this the largest Hooka thing you have ever seen?!

Love this... do you see what this store is called!

This is a bit immature... Brandon pointed this one out to me. Have to be standing in a certain place to notice it.

The weather has been just spectacular in the morning, but really deteriorated as the day went on. This was a park we went to. This flower bed is the symbol for the rugby team in this region.
 More of the park.

There are these strange fountains all over the place in Clermont. Some you can drink from, some you can't. This one apparently was safe to drink, I filled up my bottle and gave it to Brandon.

Outside of the cathedral again. We had seen earlier that you could go to the top, but they were taking a lunch break right when we go there. Hence, going to that park before. So we came back at 2pm, in hopes of being about to try again.

Success! We found a random man carrying a box of candles inside, paid him a euro fifty each, he unlocked a random door, and closed us in. And we were off, or should I say, up.

 That was a lot of stairs, but the view was really cool!

After that, I was dead. But we still had an hour for our train to come to take us back to Vichy. We headed to the gare anyway and waited.

We made it back to Vichy, starving, so we made a quick trip to Carrefour for some food. There, we found this.
 A potato shaped like a duck! Funny!

A bridge we crossed walking home from the grocery store.

And that was Vichy on Friday. So after dinner, Brandon and I decided that we wanted to go to Montpellier the next day. Train tickets from Vichy to Montpllier are 80 euros round trip, which is steep and a bit stupid because it's really not that far away. Like a three hour drive. So, we decided to try something new!


Covoiturage is like ride sharing. You go on the website, find someone going from one place to another, and can catch a ride with them. It's actually really organized. Obiviously, I can go sour quickly if you get a creepy person, but we took the risk.

We decided to ride with a 31 year old man name Aurelian. Brandon spoke to him twice on the phone, he seemed nice, and agreed to meet us at the train station at 9:30 Saturday morning.

So we get there. Aurelian is really nice and a sharp looking guy. He drove a new Audi quattro and didn't allow smoking or eating in his car. It was a super nice car and you could tell that he was really into his car and really into driving. He wouldn't even allow himself to smoke in it.

So we started off. It was supposed to be a 3 and half hour drive to Montpellier, but, when you are going 140,150,160km to the entire way, you get there way faster! It was so fun. It felt like we were in a racecar!

I had looked it up the night before and it looked that we were going to pass by Millau, which is where this massive bridge is. I believe it may be the largest bridge in Europe!

Here we are about to cross it. You have to first pay a toll.

It was great. Shortly after, we made it to Montpellier. Aurelien dropped us off at the gare and we were in Montpellier!

For those of you who don't know, Brandon and I studied abroad in Montpellier two years ago and loved it. We still have some friends here so we were so excited to see them and be back.

Directly from the gare, we bought a weekly pass for the tram and made our way to our friend Celia's house. Yay! Then she called our friend Thibault (Tibo), and we went to lunch!

It was so sunny and warm!!! Finally, however, sadly that would not last for long!

Here is Brandon's salad.

 And I of course had mussels!

And here is a candid Celia and Tibo!

All done with my mussels!

After lunch, Tibo had to leave and Brandon, Celia, and I walked around a bit.

This was weird. This man had cats everywhere. So bizarre. So obviously, I wanted to take a picture. So I did. Then, in this huge crowd of people, he points me out to come give me money. At first, I didn't... but he kept pointing! So, I gave in, and gave him 11 cents.

Some more shots of Montpellier. So cool to be back. I was so happy. Amazing! Enorme!

I took this picture for Marisa. This is the best waffle place in the world. Honestly, it's true.

Then, I got a massive headache... I think because I usually have coffee everyday, and I hadn't had it yet. So we stopped for "un cafe:"

We then made another trip to Carrefour! So weird, we haven't been here in so long but everything is in the same place!

So, there is a quick recap of what's going on. I'm so busy it's hard to update!!! Be back soon!

(by the way, i didn't reread this one.... on my way to the beach!)


  1. What an adventure! Just loved the pictures, especially the flower and food ones. Keep up the posting.

  2. J'ai beaucoup aimé ton blog !! il est super !! =)